Check out the most recent Episode of the Dynamic Coaching Tools Podcast, our Chalk Talk series, or other content that is designed to help coaches improve. We are excited to have you on our website, exploring ways to improve as a coach, as we all work to GROW THE GAME! If you are looking for something specific, please contact us via e-mail at: INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com
We are excited to launch our “CHALK TALK” series, which will feature different basketball Xs and Os, that we believe can help your team. In Episode 1, we are sharing our favorite zone set from this past season. Take a look at “Aggie,” from the Texas A&M women’s basketball team, which we used to score numerous baskets with our program.
Let us know what you think about this set. We look forward to sharing more great X’s and O’s, every time that we get together for some “CHALK TALK.”
Our “Featured Play” is one of Raptors’ Coach Nick Nurse’s go-to sets when he needs a late game three! If you love the HAMMER ACTION, then this “Snap Hammer” set is for you!
This is the place to see the newest and most popular blog post on the website.
We are launching a new series that we are calling TELLING vs TEACHING. This is motivated by a recent video that was posted by Brian Kight. Check out the video below, to learn about the most under-coached profession.
How is it possible that coaching is the most under-coached profession? The answer is very simple. There are no clearly defined requirements to get into coaching. To take that a step further, we are seeing more coaches TELLING players what to do, as opposed to TEACHING players how to play the game. Below are some of the examples that you might hear in a gym:
“You’ve got to finish that!”
“Talk on defense!”
“Take care of the ball!”
These are all examples of TELLING, when experienced coaches understand that the key is to spend your time TEACHING your players. Here are some “teaching” examples, which align with the same “telling” statements from above.
“Keep your eyes and chin on the rim!”
“Talk it, touch it, switch it on the ball screen!”
“Get to two feet in the paint and throw to what you see!”
While these are general examples, it is most important that coaches recognize the value of TEACHING players how to play the game. TELLING players what to do is counter productive for an experienced coach, because the goal is to create an environment that is conducive to learning and improving.
The topic of the first blog post is to discuss communication. One common misconception is that players do not want to talk. In most cases, the problem is actually that players do not know what to say. Most coaches have been around teams that talk, laugh, make jokes, and are loud off the floor. As soon as players get into a practice, they stop talking. It is not an unwillingness to talk. The problem is that no one has taught players what to say. How much would your team improve if all of your players communicated like PJ Tucker in the video below?
Before we can teach our players how to communicate effectively, we must equip our coaches with a process to break it down with their teams. If we don’t coach the coaches, then we will be back in the habit of telling our players, instead of teaching them. Here is a great way to break down communication into three phases for your team.
PHASE ONE: What are you doing?
In Phase One, players are encouraged to simply talk through what they are doing individually. This might sound like, “I’m in help. I’ve got the ball. Jump to the ball. I’m in a gap.” This is the starting point for players. The key is to correct terminology, but never tell a player that they are wrong. We want to build confidence!
PHASE TWO: What do you see happening?
In Phase Two, players are talking about what they are doing, but also what they see happening. This is where the communication starts to involve their teammates. This might sound like, “I’m in help. Cutter coming through. Ball screen right. Ball screen right. I’m hedging. You’re back. I’m here.” It is being able to communicate what is happening in that particular moment. Once again, as a coach, we want to hold players accountable to communicating with our terminology, but we do not want players to ever feel like they are wrong. Furthermore, this is where you will see breakdowns in communication between teammates. It is essential that you encourage players to work through it. Coaches should take the role of mediator, to keep communication productive, but should not shut down the back and forth between players.
PHASE THREE: What is going to happen next?
In Phase Three, players reach an elite level of communication. This involves being able to recognize and call out actions before they happen. It is unlikely that you will get your entire team to this level, but the best teams have a couple of these types of communicators on the floor at all times. Phase Three communication might sound like, “Ball screen coming. Ball screen coming. Be ready to switch it. I’ve got help on the slip. I’ve got help on the slip.” In this example, it is recognizing an action early, communicating the plan to teammates, and also acknowledging coverage for a potential counter from the offense.
As you look to create better communication with your team, the key is to TEACH players how to talk. If you find yourself saying, “we need to talk,” then you should consider stopping and going one layer deeper to discover why your players are not talking. A mediocre coach tells the players what to do. A great coach teaches the players how to learn what needs to happen. If you take ownership for becoming a better teacher, your teams will improve, and your program will be on the path to sustainable success.
Do you have thoughts on TEACHING vs TELLING? You can share them by connecting with us on social media (@DynamicCoaches). You can also e-mail us at: INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com
In this section, you will see more work from our team of content contributors.
Go to social media and you will see a constant trend of “coach bashing.” Parents complain about coaches. Players complain about coaches. High school coaches claim that AAU coaches are ruining the game. AAU coaches claim that HS coaches are too political and hold their players back from maximizing their potential. So, do bad coaches exist?
Yes. Bad coaches are everywhere. There are bad high school coaches, bad AAU coaches, and bad collegiate coaches. “Bad” is a relative term, which depends on who is judging the performance of each coach. Before this starts to sound too negative, which we might have already passed that point, we need to explore what makes a “bad coach.” Below you will find the ABC’s of “bad coaching.”
A| About Me
This is the coach that thinks that the 45-point win is about his coaching ability and not the massive talent advantage on his roster. When a coach makes the success of the team about themselves, they lose sight of the number one objective for all coaches, which is to serve their student-athletes. The “about me” coach can not move past their ego, which prevents them from empowering their players, and ultimately stunts the development of the people within their program.
B| Blame Others
Some coaches are undefeated, if it weren’t for those darn officials. Bad coaches find countless reasons to avoid taking ownership for the challenging moments that come with the job. When the team suffers a loss, the players are referred to as “they.” You might hear something like, “they didn’t want it bad enough.” Good coaches are able to take ownership for the challenging moments, and maintain the focus on what “WE” need to do to work through challenging moments. Bad coaches that “blame others” survive by pointing a finger at the uncontrollable things, which take the attention on things that the coach could be doing better. Blaming others is like vomiting around your team. You feel better afterwards, but everyone around is disgusted, doesn’t want to be there anymore, or is also vomiting out the same blame that started with you.
This bad coach is always talking about what could be accomplished, if they had the same advantages as everyone else. Complaining is frustrating to everyone else, does you no good, and does not move your team forward. Instead of being jealous and complaining about what a successful program has, use that energy to study other successful programs. Unfortunately, complaining gives a bad coach the satisfaction of deflecting the negative attention. All coaching jobs are not created equal, but all coaches are also not created equal. Bad coaches complain, because it makes them feel better about themselves. Good coaches spend their energy attacking the challenges, so that their competition will eventually complain about the program that they have built. Bad coaches are about themselves, they blame others, and there is always something to complain about which establishes a negative and losing culture.
Thankfully, we can find incredible examples of coaches who are avoiding the ABC’s of bad coaching. These coaches take ownership and accountability for everything in their program. By taking ownership, the coach is empowered to find a way to embrace challenges, improve each day, and eventually build a championship culture. Coaching is a challenging job and the ABC’s of bad coaching will tempt all of us. Put your players first, take ownership for challenging moments, and maintain a positive outlook and your program is destined for a bright future.
Transition Shooting is a drill that is a great way to start practice, work on passing the ball ahead, or it can be used as a game day shooting drill. The drill is used for five minutes and should include a target score. This score should be adjusted to an appropriate level for each team. Below are some suggested scores.
MS TEAM = 100 points | JV TEAM = 125 points
VARSITY TEAM = 150 points | COLLEGE TEAM = 200 points
The drill begins with three lines on each baseline. On one baseline, where the drill will begin, there is a ball with the first person in the middle line. There is also a ball with the second person, in the outside lines. On the other end, the two outside lines have a ball (see diagram below). The three players who are running will all touch the ball once, which means that two passes will be made. The ball should not need to hit the floor. The final player to touch the ball will score a lay-up. The other two players will receive a pass from the outside lines on the baseline, to shoot a 15-foot jump shot, or a 3-point shot. The middle line will get the ball out of the net, from the lay-up, to initiate the transition the opposite direction. Below is the scoring:
Layups = 2 points
15-foot shots = 2 points
3-point shot = 3 points
If the ball hits the floor = 0 points
Below is a diagram of the drill. If you need more information, or want to know about alternative ways to run the drill, you can reach out to CoachBrotherton@dynamiccoachingtools.com
Throughout this season, I have come across multiple coaches who are not filming games. Every time this happens, I respond with an e-mail, encouraging coaches to stop ignoring the opportunity to improve their coaching staff, team, and individual players. It is our belief that all varsity coaches should be filming every game. This is part of your job, and you owe it to your players. Furthermore, filming practices can also be very beneficial. Below are the reasons that we believe that Film is a coach’s best friend:
1- It is the best teaching tool!
As the saying goes, “the eye in the sky don’t lie.” Film allows players to watch their mistakes and these teaching moments are very beneficial to player development. Film can help a team better understand areas for improvement, challenges from opponents, and it provides clarity for everyone in the program. There is no better teaching tool than an organized, well planned film session.
2- Players need film for college coaches.
Most high school coaches have players that are interested in playing at the college level. Your players will need film, so college coaches can evaluate them. By providing film to college coaches, you are doing your part to help your players have an opportunity to continue their careers.
3- You can exchange film to scout opponents
One of the worst phrases that coaches say is, “We don’t scout, because we are just worried about us.” This is code for, “I am too lazy to prepare my team to win.” As a varsity basketball coach, you should be scouting your opponents. This is especially important in league play. Scouting provides an opportunity to steal points for your team. It is very impactful, against good teams, if you can prevent 4-6 points for your opponent, and generate 4-6 easy points for your team. If you are not filming and sharing film, other coaches will be less likely to help you with film.
4- Film helps ensure accurate stats
Filming games will help your staff ensure that you have accurate stats. Depending on a student manager to take stats during the game is fine, but there is a strong chance that those stats are not accurate. Film can be used with services like Krossover or Hudl, which will provide statistical breakdowns of your team. Stats are also important for recognizing and rewarding your players for big achievements. It might be scoring 1,000 career points, or providing proof that a player should receive all-league or all-state honors. The stats also allow coaches to provide a program record book, which is a great way to honor the best players throughout the history of your program.
5- What you see during games is only part of the picture. Film fills in the gaps.
When you see post game interviews with the best coaches, you will regularly hear them answer questions with, “it is hard to answer that without looking at the film.” This is because the best coaches know that the film will provide valuable information. You can look at a box score and see the results. It might be a lack of offensive rebounding, too many turnovers, or poor shooting. Film fills in the gaps, and answers the question of WHY those results happened. If you do not watch film, then you are taking an educated guess, as opposed to finding the undeniable answers that can help your team improve.
If you are a high school coach, make sure that you are filming games. Film is your best friend, and will help you maximize the development of your team.
You can follow Dynamic Coaching Tools on Twitter or Instagram at @DynamicCoaches
As the calendar turns over, basketball coaches begin conference play, and hope to have the answer to how their team can win. Through the experiences gained from October to December, most teams have had an opportunity to be challenged, learn from adversity, and establish an identity. Below are three questions that you had better know the answer to, if you want a chance to win your league:
✔ What does your team do better than anyone else in your league?
✔ What is your team’s biggest weakness, and how can you help your team overcome it?
✔ Do your players know and accept their roles?
These three questions are guiding thoughts, which will give your team a chance to play their best basketball. We hope this helps your coaching staff evaluate where your team is at, as you prepare for the most important stretch of the season.
You can follow Dynamic Coaching Tools on Twitter at @DynamicCoaches
It is becoming obvious that all Championship teams have a clear understanding of the importance of great leadership. This past year, we were able to see it across all levels of basketball.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:
WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER:
NBA CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:
At the end of most seasons, coaches will talk about their leadership, and their season, in a similar tone. If leadership is an important factor in the success of a team, then why are coaches ignoring it? Here is one of the most ridiculous statements that you will hear from people about leadership:
“He/She is a born leader.”
Nobody is a “born leader.” People are a reflection of their experiences, the people around them, and their vision for the future. The purpose of this post is to challenge coaches to formulate a LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PLAN.
Here are five suggestions, to improve the leadership in your program:
- Start a group chat with your leaders.
- This sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference. This off-season, I used the GroupMe App to start a group chat with our Captains. In this chat, I constantly share leadership articles, quotes, and ask questions. This has created a clear understanding of my expectations, and allows me to control the messaging that our leaders are receiving. The questions allow for a better understanding of what our leaders know, and areas for growth and development.
- Launch a Leadership Development Program at your school:
- We had our first Leadership Development Program at our school this fall. We took our Athletics Department theme, and designed a program to spread this down to our student-athlete leaders. This included an introduction to our theme (Servant Leadership) from our Athletic Director, a college coaches panel, four break out sessions, and a varsity coaches panel. By the end of the program, we had a clear understanding of our standard, expectations, and how we could work with our athletes to ensure success.
- Spend an entire practice silent or only whispering:
- This idea was first put on display, years ago, by Geno Auriemma. He spent an entire practice whispering his instructions. This meant that the players had to listen, communicate, and execute. All coaches agree that the best teams are player led, and so it only makes sense for coaches to take a step back. Record the practice that you are quiet, and then watch it with your staff to learn about the leadership and communication dynamics of your team.
- Clearly communicate your expectations at your parent meeting:
- At the high school level, the most underrated aspect of the “buy-in” in your program is the parents. Programs who struggle are constantly complaining about the parents. In reality, the percentages tend to show that great players are driven by overly involved parents. If you embrace the power of these parents, and work to control the messaging, then it can work in your favor. If the parents understand what you are trying to accomplish, then they are more likely to express these things on the drive home.
- Your best tool is former players/leaders:
- The best tool that you have in your program are your former leaders. Those former players are going to be able to connect with your current leaders, in a different way. As coaches, we can not always get on the same level as our leaders. Our former players have the ability to do that, but once again, we can control the messaging. If you are not utilizing your former players, to help support your current leaders, then it is time to get started.
These are just five of the ideas that we recommend for coaches, as you try to develop leaders in your program. In six months, you are going to be talking about the leadership on your team. There is a strong chance that you will talk about your team, the same way that you discuss your leadership. Start pouring into those leaders now, so that you can maximize the potential of your current roster.
You can reach us for more information on Leadership Development by e-mailing us at:
You can also find us on Social Media: @DynamicCoaches
Coaches like Buzz Williams and Tom Izzo regularly reference the way that Football coaches do things. They also credit football coaches for making a positive impact on their programs. All basketball coaches should be looking around for great ideas, and other sports offer some opportunities to learn and grow. Below are three ideas, which basketball coaches should steal from their football programs.
1 – Script your first few possessions of the game
A great way to help your team find a rhythm offensively, is to script the first few half court possessions. The number of possessions is dependent on your teams ability to retain information and then execute. We like to script our first three possessions, as well as our first baseline out of bounds play. By scripting it, we are able to put our players into a comfortable position. We can select the set, based on something that we scouted on film. The players that are in a position to make a decision, or take a shot, have practiced that specific scenario the day before the game. This builds confidence. Furthermore, this is especially successful in hostile road environments, as you try to take the crowd out of the game.
2 – Put an Assistant Coach over both sides of the ball
As a Head Coach, one of the hardest things to do is to give up control. In reality, we need to recognize that we have all of the power, but no control at all. We can work on things, but it is up to our players to execute. We can ask our Assistant Coaches to be engaged, to buy in, and to help develop our team. Football coaches make the ultimate decisions, but they also hire an Offensive and Defensive Coordinator that they can trust. These Assistant Coaches play a major role in the success of the team. It also allows the Head Coach to focus on a specific side of the ball, without the other side feeling neglected. In practice, we might want to focus on the defensive side of the floor. Who is holding the offensive players accountable to do things the right way? Assigning an Assistant Coach to each side of the floor, will allow the Head Coach to focus on specific aspects of the team development, while also ensuring that nothing is neglected.
3 – Stress the importance of Special Teams
Football coaches make a huge deal about the impact the Special Teams have on the game. What are Special Teams in Basketball? We view Special Teams as baseline out of bounds plays and sideline out of bounds plays. Other coaches will add factors, such as points off of turnovers, second chance points, or free throws made. Simply using the out of bounds plays are very easy to track within the game. If your team is able to find an advantage within the “Special Teams,” it can be especially important in close games. Look back at last year’s numbers and see what impact the “Special Teams” had on your team.
For more ideas, feel free to contact us via e-mail INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com
or on Social Media: @DynamicCoaching
After two highly competitive five game series, we now have our WNBA Finals match-up. Game 1 tips off tonight and features the Seattle Storm against the Washington Mystics. Coaches should be tuning in, as both teams run some tremendous stuff offensively. Below is a breakdown of three sets to look for, which have been highly successful for both teams. Thank you to Ben Dull, from SplitThePost.com for providing all of the videos for this preview.
Storm – Flex Action (BLOB set)
This BLOB set involves Bird setting a flex screen for Stewart, then receiving a down screen.
Storm – “Horns Down”
The Storm have different Horns looks, but this ball screen that flows into a down screen is tough to guard in transition.
Storm – Empty side / Two Man Action
The Storm love to include Stewart in a “two man game,” on an empty side. They use DHOs, ball screens, and slips.
Mystics “Stagger Split Rip”
This set shows a double stagger, before a split, into a rip (rescreen) for the back cutter. Great counter to a traditional double stagger!
Mystics – “Zipper 15”
The Mystics use a zipper cut, to trigger this backscreen action with Toliver and Delle Donne. This is just one of the ways that the Mystics use a backscreen to get the basketball inside.
Mystics – “Drag Back STS”
This set uses a drag screen and throw back, to set up the screen-the-screener. Toliver shows a screen for Delle Donne, before she actually receives the screen for an open three.
Two actions that will be critical for both teams to figure out are the two-man game, with Stewart on the empty side. The Storm lead the WNBA in three point shooting, and that action puts the defense in a scramble situation. The Storm must be ready to guard the screening actions involving Toliver and Delle Donne. They use back screens, ball screens, and screen the screener actions to free up both players.
This blog will be re-posted on www.FastModelSports.com, with all set plays being diagrammed and available for download in the playbank. Look for this repost before Game 3.
You can also catch our most recent Dynamic Coaching Tools Podcast by clicking here.
The WNBA Playoffs begin tonight, and coaches should take advantage of the learning opportunity these games will provide.
Coaches spend the off season looking for ways to develop, improve, and learn. What if I told you that you might be missing out on the best bargain in basketball!?! For only $16.99, you could watch some of the best coaches in the world 204 times?
Yes, WNBA League Pass is only $16.99 for the entire season – that’s just over eight cents per game for terrific basketball! While this option is available, too many coaches are not giving the WNBA the respect that it deserves. There are some tremendous XsOs being put on display in WNBA games. The action is uptempo, players are skilled, and more coaches should be tuning in. Furthermore, all coaches should be encouraging their players to watch WNBA basketball!
The WNBA Playoffs tip off tonight (8/21) with both first-round single eliminations games airing live on ESPN2 at 8:30 and 10:30 ET. The Finals will take place the first week of September. Check it out!
Below are some of my favorite plays from the WNBA regular season.
Click on a play to read full description and to download it to your FastDraw library.
The Dream have have scored multiple times using this wrinkle at the end of Floppy action. The weak side back screen has resulted in many layups, and the screen-the-screener pin down has also created open looks.
The Mercury ran this ATO to get a wide open three for the great Diana Taurasi. This has multiple options which makes it very difficult to guard. The pistol acton with a weak side flare is a nightmare for the help defenders.
The Mystics used this BLOB set to get Elena Delle Donne an uncontested game winning-three. The double stagger screen sets up a screen-the-screener action for a shot at the top of the key. This BLOB set has different looks and would be a nice addition to any coach’s baseline series.
The Sky are 3rd in the WNBA in 3PT FG%, and this set has resulted in numerous good looks. Even if it is guarded well, the action flows right into an invert ball screen, which is what happened in the clip below.
This play is named “Winner 2.0” because it is similar to the popular “Winner” set that Brad Stevens has used in the past. This set uses a zipper screen, to set up the back side flare and skip pass. The play has the screen for the shooter, and actually features a second screen (shooter was wide open in the clip).
This is just a small sample of some of the wonderful XsOs that have been put on display during the WNBA regular season. The WNBA Playoffs are going to be exciting and I urge coaches to tune in. If you have questions or are interested in more WNBA plays, you can contact Coach Doug Brotherton at: @CoachBrotherton
Also make sure to follow DYNAMIC COACHING TOOLS on Twitter: @DynamicCoaches